So, the question become: how can the NSA operate and not infringe upon the rights of citizens?
That's a tough cookie to crack.
Is Security an Illusion?
If you operate a cheap hosting website, you may not have had a brush-in with the NSA, yet. But, if someone that runs a site through your hosting company is questionable or operating illegally, the government may knock on your door. What would you do? You'd probably hand over private details, just to get the government off of your back, right?
This means, in basic terms, that nobody operating a business within the United States is safe from government prying. For the most part, this fact is upsetting. But it's not so upsetting when it comes to the protection of all U.S. citizens. There are, after all, a lot of things that happen on the government level every day – and we aren't privy to most of this information.
The NSA: We Need What We Love to Hate: The Line Between Safety and Privacy
How can the NSA operate without really freaking out U.S. citizens? Is that even possible? Maybe not. Maybe it's best if we don't know what's happening. Maybe people like Edward Snowden are really a threat to our way of life. Maybe it's best to go without knowing what's going on. Maybe.
Or, maybe not. Maybe the government needs to be more open about privacy requests. Then again, it's hard to let the world know what you're doing if you want to keep that information a secret from other governments. It's confusing, isn't it? For now, though, you are under a sort of obligation to hand over any privacy information when the government comes knocking.
Your Obligation As A Cheap Hosting Provider
Owning a cloud hosting or other hosting site does put you in a precarious place. Until the law says otherwise (and it may say otherwise soon enough), here's what you have to do if the government asks for user data:
That was simple enough, right? Don't want to comply? There's another option:
2. Shut Down.
I know, it's all gloom and doom. But, that's the way this works. You either bow out and state publicly that you won't give in, or you give in privately. Or, if you're like Google, you build a data center on a barge in the middle of the ocean. That could work too.
I'm curious: has the government bothered you about user data? Have you given in? What would you do if this were the case? And, more importantly – can we have a NSA and still keep citizen rights intact?